Age Group: Adult
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: March 18, 2014
Mia Devine plans over-the-top weddings for a living. So when it comes to her own nuptials, she spares no expense—hand engraved invitations, Vera Wang gown, luxury honeymoon in France. And since her fiancé is Tucker Branch, playboy heir and notorious flirt, local media is obsessed with every little detail.
Which is why it really sucks when he jilts her a week before the wedding.
Mortified, Mia wants nothing more than to crawl under her newly monogrammed sheets and plan a funeral for her dignity, right after blabbing to the world how fitting it is that Tucker will inherit a bolt and screw company, because that’s all he wants to do—screw, and bolt. And he doesn’t do either with much finesse.
When her friends convince her that bitter tastes better when it’s drowned in Bordeaux, she grits her teeth and packs her bags, determined to make the best of a week in Paris alone. She never planned on meeting Lucas Fournier.
The free-spirited musician’s scruffy good looks and less-than-sympathetic ear annoy her at first, but when she takes him up on his offer to show her around the city, she discovers that the romance of Paris isn’t just a myth. Nor is the simultaneous O.
The last thing Mia needs is another doomed love affair, but since she only has a week, she figures she might as well enjoy La Vie en O with Lucas while she can. But each day—and night—with him is better than the last, and suddenly her heart is telling her this is more than a rebound fling.
Is it just the seduction of Paris…or could this be the real thing?
“You hate flying, yet you want to get on another plane first thing in the morning?”
“I have to.”
“No, you don’t.”
Shaking my head, I insisted, “Yes, I do. You don’t understand.”
“Sure I do. Your fiancé called off the wedding and you’re angry and sad or whatever because you’re getting close to your marriage deadline or whatever, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a good time here. You came all this way, even though you hate to fly. There must have been a reason.”
Oh, yeah. That’s why I was annoyed with him.
Aggravated anew, I sat taller on my seat. “The reason was that I’ve always wanted to see Paris. It’s been a dream of mine since I was a kid. I had every day planned out, I knew exactly what we would do, the things we would see. And I thought I could handle it on my own, but now that I’m here, I can’t, OK? I can’t handle all the love and romance and fucking happiness all around me when I was supposed to be here on my honeymoon! It isn’t fair!”
My voice was rising and several people glanced my way, especially since I thumped my hand on the bar with my last word. But how dare he ruin my buzz and the tenuous peace I’d made with myself about going home!
He shrugged. “Lots of things in life aren’t fair. Doesn’t matter what city you’re in.”
I rolled my eyes as all the attitude progress I’d made during my second glass of wine came undone. “Spare me the platitudes. I’ve heard a boatload of them in the week since I was unceremoniously dumped—via text message, mind you—seven days before my goddamn wedding.”
Lucas regarded me carefully. “You’ve got a problem.”
Brilliant, this asshole. “Yes. My problem is that I’m on my honeymoon, alone.”
“That’s not your problem.”
My jaw fell open. Who the hell was he to tell me what my problem was? He went on before I could protest.
“Your problem is that you thought things were going to be one way and they’re not. You’re not even telling me you miss the guy who was supposed to be here with you. You just don’t want to be here alone because that wasn’t the plan.”
“That is not what I said!”
He laughed. “That’s exactly what you said.”
“Well…” I flapped my hands. “That’s not what I meant. I’m flustered. And drunk.”
“So you do miss him? Because I don’t see a heartbroken girl here in front of me. I see someone who’s angry that her relationship ended badly mostly because it ruined an idea she had about the perfect life. And she flew all the way here, but even Paris isn’t enough to distract her from the fact she didn’t get exactly what she wanted when she wanted it.”
“It was more than an idea! It was real. At least, it felt real…most of the time.” My spine curled as the fight left my body. Even my voice weakened. “But what do I know?”
He spoke softer too. “Want to know what I think?”
He held up his hands. “Fair enough.”
I put my credit card on the bar. “I want to pay my bill and leave.”
“The wine is on the house.”
“Because you feel sorry for me?” I snapped. God, Mia, just shut up. Why I was letting this guy get to me, I had no idea. Wasn’t I in this bar because I felt sorry for myself?
He hesitated before answering. “Yes. Originally, I felt sorry for you because some asshole treated you wrong. But now that I know a little more, I think he did you a big favor. Now I feel sorry for you because you’re going to let one bad day ruin a dream that you’ve had for such a long time. You know, if you leave tomorrow, I bet you never come back. I bet you’ll always think of Paris as a miserable, lonely place.”
I opened my mouth to argue and then closed it. Was he right? Was I letting one bad day speak louder than a lifetime of dreaming about Paris?
“But I’d also bet you’re stronger than you think.”
I met his eyes, and they were serious. Was he right? I’d known coming here wouldn’t be easy, but I’d gotten on that plane. Cocking my head, I asked, “Were you a psych major or something?”
He grinned. “Double major—music and psychology. Graduate degree in psych. Look, I know we just met, and I do tend to analyze people and open my big mouth when I should probably just keep my opinion to myself. But when you walked in here alone and looked around, I thought, There is a woman who knows what she wants. That confidence is sexy.”
“But I’m not confident.” The words came out like a whimper as I stared down at my left hand, where my ring used to be. I wondered where it was now—I’d thrown it in the toilet, but Coco had rescued it.
“Yes, you are. You’re just a little scared right now.”
Exhaling, I looked up at him through my lashes. “You argue with everything I say. It’s really annoying.”
“Sorry. Let me make it up to you.”
He thought for a moment. “Well, let’s make a deal. You agree to give Paris one more day, and I’ll agree to spend the day being your tour guide—no psycho-analysis, I promise. If you’re still miserable even when you have a friend by your side, you can grab a flight home the next day. I’ll even call the airline for you.”
“A friend, huh?”
“You think about it.” He moved down the bar to fill drink orders, and I checked out his ass again.
It really was cute.
Melanie Harlow likes her martinis dry, her lipstick red, and her history with the naughty bits left in. I write New Adult historical and contemporary stories.